The Indian cricket team completed one of its best four-month spells across formats, pipping England by a mere 7 runs in the third and final ODI after surviving Sam Curran’s determined assault in an exciting contest for a well-deserved hat-trick of series victories. For India, near domination of England in all three formats at home comes straight after humbling Australia in their own backyard earlier this year during a gruelling tour. MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

The 2-1 triumph against the reigning world champions in 50-over cricket will certainly please Virat Kohli but he will not at all be amused by the fact that India nearly let the game slip away with some unimaginative bowling and poor fielding at the death. SCORECARD

Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya hit stroke-filled half-centuries but the Indian lower-order also caved in meekly to settle for a below-par 329 on a great batting track.

But Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 3/42 – and new all-rounder in making Shardul Thakur – 4/67 and 30 runs – got the breakthroughs at just the right times before Curran – 95 not out off 83 balls – almost changed the result singlehandedly. England finished on 322 for 9.

Yorker specialist Thangarasu Natarajan bowled a brilliant final over with England needing 14 but Curran could manage only six runs because the Indian bowled mostly in the block-hole. It was a gettable total on a flat pitch but Kohli’s ploy to attack with a predominantly pace attack paid off for the better part of the game before Curran launched a swift counter-assault.

Bhuvneshwar brought in his nearly decade-long experience with a beautiful inswinger that castled Jason Roy – 14. He then bowled another in-cutter which left Jonny Bairstow – 1 on the wrong side of the Decision Review System after the opener was forced to remain inside the crease when Pant came up to the stumps.

Ben Stokes – 35 off 39 balls – got a reprieve when he looked all but out with Pandya dropping a dolly at mid-off.

And when it looked that Stokes will dispatch Natarajan into the deep square leg stands, he managed to hit the full toss straight to Shikhar Dhawan, who did his famous thigh slap celebration.

Jos Buttler – 15 off 18 balls – was then trapped leg before by Thakur as England stared down the barrel at 95 for 4 when Liam Livingstone – 36 – and Dawid Malan – 50 – joined forces for a 60-run stand.

Livingstone’s on-drive and a pull-off Thakur were classy shots and once he was set, he lofted Krunal Pandya for a six over long-on.

However, Livingstone had a lapse of concentration while trying to check his shot off an innocuous full-toss from Thakur which ended in the simplest of return catches. With half of the team gone for 155, the match became a no-contest when Thakur had Malan pulling straight to Rohit Sharma at short mid-wicket.

But then Curran, first with Adil Rashid and then with Mark Wood, nearly changed the game before India prevailed.

Earlier, Pant’s sparkling knock of 78 off 62 balls was well supported by Hardik – 64 off 44 balls – but India lost their last four wickets for a mere eight runs to finish at least 30 short of a competitive total on another belter.

Pant, during his career-best knock, plundered, four maximums and five boundaries, while Hardik had five fours and four sixes during their 99-run stand for the fifth wicket.